Fife community rally round to bring homeless man in from the cold

Burntisland beach where James was camping. Pic by Ian Archibald.
Burntisland beach where James was camping. Pic by Ian Archibald.

Kind-hearted Burntisland residents rallied round to bring a homeless man in from the cold.

Donations flowed in after local resident Darren Wapplington spotted the man, called James, camping in a tent on Burntisland beach. He posted a Facebook appeal to help give him a roof over his head as the bad weather moved in.

Jason Borthwick, owner of the Sands Hotel offered reduced price accommodation, and James spent Monday night in comfort, before Fife Council stepped in to find him emergency accommodation in Kirkcaldy.

Jason said: “Everyone has been very generous and I was just happy to be able to help James in what little way I could.

“People were handing in donations from a fiver upwards and he stayed here on Monday night. On Tuesday someone from Fife Council’s housing team came to speak to him and he was given accommodation that same day in Kirkcaldy.

“When James left here I gave him the remainder of the money, so he had some cash in his pocket. He was very grateful to everyone.”

Darren added: “I worked with street homeless in London for many years so I gradually became aware that he appeared to be without anywhere to go during the day when I passed him while walking the dog.

“While in some respects it’s easy to become disconnected from homelessness in cities, to see it in a small town like Burntisland was quite a shock.

“My motivation was purely one of a guilty conscience seeing someone out in the cold and I was aware that Burntisland is a community-orientated town. People were very willing to help out.”

“I don’t think this is in anyway a solution to homelessness, which lies in properly funded services, rent controls, building more council houses, stopping the destruction of the welfare state, an end to zero hours contracts and poverty pay.”

Gavin Smith, homelessness service manager, said: “No one needs to sleep rough at any time in Fife and we would encourage anyone faced with homelessness to contact the council. We can offer temporary accommodation and are duty bound to do so.” Call 03451 550033 9am-5pm.